Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stimulating the economy

In an effort to stimulate our local economy and squeeze every last bit of fun out of summer, Wondertwin and I have  been trying to organize a stay at a local non-chain beachside hotel for the last weekend before school starts. Sure, it might be just a few miles from the house, but this way we get to enjoy someone else's place, not have to clean up after ourselves, and the kids have both an indoor pool and an outdoor pool, so afternoon thunderstorms be damned! And did I forget to mention they have a tiki bar? 

Only thing is, our friend Capt. Gin Girl is not cooperating. She's on a "no spending" plan, meaning unless it involves food or living necessities, she's not spending money. And considering she is the most disciplined person I know, she means business. Capt. Gin Girl gets up every morning before dawn to work out. She watches her diet religiously and enforces time for herself every week on Wednesdays when she goes bowling on a league that does not involve her husband or kids. She assigns chores to her kids every week,  which they actually complete. She's really a model of living for me. 

But how to convince her that she should spend the money to stay in the hotel with us for the last weekend of summer? I mean we could go without her, but what fun would that be? Who would plan all the activities? Who would keep the kids in line? 

I think Wondertwin and I are going to have to dig up a coupon or something to ensure her participation. 

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hurricane Safe Zone

So we're smack in the middle of hurricane season and all we've seen so far this year (thank God) are some afternoon thunderstorms and a few weeks where it rained way too much and flooded some areas. Until yesterday . . .

Wondertwin and I were enjoying a wine tasting at the Vino 100 where we are both now wine club members - that's right, we have glasses with our names on them. It had been a little overcast, but the sun was still shining every now and then at 6 p.m. Then Wondertwin starts getting call after call on her iPhone (which is really annoying when you're trying to drink wine and gossip). Her mom calls, her Man Du Jour calls, and they're all wanting to know if she's ok or if she's caught in the really bad weather our area is apparently experiencing. 

We glance out the window, nothing, not even a sprinkle. Nope, seems we are in the Cone of Safety, and that's located at the Vino 100. But apparently, chaos is breaking out all around us. Funnel clouds in Ormond Beach, tornadoes touching down in Port Orange. Really

Wondertwin and I had just last week been discussing our hurricane plans this year. Seems her baby daddy has declared his newly remodeled home to be hurricane evacuation central for her and the kids. But, even if his home wasn't on the river in a flood zone, I faced no competition in him luring her and the kids away from my home during evacuation periods. I have a brick home inland, and I have a generator. Last time we had major hurricanes, Wondertwin and her kids stayed here for several days and enjoyed hot meals, cold popsicles, cold wine (for the mommies) and the kids slid down the stairway in their sleeping bags for hours. The kids were entertained and the mommies could track the storm on the radio while reading back issues of US Weekly. 

So after yesterday, I now know that the Vino 100 is also a great hurricane evacuation zone - and it's fully stocked!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mother Daughter Day in Sunny FLA!

Here's what a mother-daughter day is like here in sunny Florida.

I took the afternoon off and took MiniMe and her friend SunnyGirl to see the GForce Guinea Pig movie in 3D. But first, we started with lunch at TGIF. Then a walk at our sunny beach boardwalk. Finally, we queued up to get our popcorn, candy and drinks AND our COOL 3D glasses. We wanted to take our guinea pig - pictured above with the girls - but health codes and all. 

We had a great time. The girls were happy, funny, and loved the movie. They kept me entertained by singing Kelly Clarkson songs on the way there and back. And when we got home, our guinea pig got a lot of attention. In fact, the photo above shows Cookie the guinea pig enjoying a relaxing afternoon by the pool while the girls swim. 

Don't worry, I just posed for the shot. The girls did bring Cookie to the pool with them, but she's protected in a cool, shady area inside her little guinea pig hut. 

How is that kids can remember every single line of a movie they just saw? MiniMe and SunnyGirl are acting out scenes from GForce in the pool and I swear they know every line!

Fun day!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Guinea Pigs!! IN 3D!!

Tomorrow I am taking time off from work to go see that new GForce movie - the one starring the guinea pigs - and I'm seeing it in 3D! Oh yeah, I'm also taking MiniMe and a friend along, although they are not nearly as excited about it as me. 

To say I am a fan of guinea pigs would be an understatement. It was the first pet MiniMe ever had and that guinea pig - the famous and much loved Sugar - stole all our hearts. We had her about 4 years and I held her and cried when she passed. We have more pictures of Sugar than we do of all our kids combined. That's because we loved her more.

Just kiddin'.

Sugar was the little sister MiniMe never had. I remember when MiniMe was about 2 and a half and she was outside playing with Sugar. She was pulling Sugar around the front yard in her little red wagon, when catastrophe struck! MiniMe tripped and busted her lip open. She began to scream hysterically and I ran over, scooped her up and went into the house to clean her up and stop the bleeding. Only about an hour later did I remember Sugar.

Any other guinea pig would have made a break for it. Not Sugar. She was kinda like those Wegmen dogs. You could put her someplace and she'd sit there and not move for hours. 
Poor Sugar had been ejected from the wagon during the accident. I found her sitting in the grass, looking a little dazed, about 2 feet away from the overturned wagon. 

This particular "staying" talent made Sugar the best at hide and seek. MiniMe, in a pathetic demonstration of her loneliness at being an only child, used to play hide and seek with Sugar. She would take Sugar and "hide" her someplace. Then she'd run back to homebase, close her eyes and count to 10, then go see if she could "find" Sugar. That guinea pig was easy to find because she was always exactly where MiniMe left her - behind a bush in the front yard, under the car in the garage, behind a cushion on the couch, in a cabinet in the kitchen. That crazy Sugar!

So tomorrow, when we all go see GForce, I'll be remembering Sugar. When we buried Sugar, MiniMe wanted to say a few words at her funeral. I'll never forget my little girl, in her somber tone saying "Sugar, you were the best guinea pig we could afford."

Sugar, we'll be thinking about you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Old Fashioned Summer Fun

What kinds of activities did you enjoy as a kid growing up? Here in Florida, most of our summer fun was to be had outside. Which was ok because back then we only had 3 channels on the TV set, one phone in the house, which was attached to the wall, and the only video game we had was pong. Ahhh, the good ole' days.

MiniMe got a dose of old fashioned summer fun today. She and her teenage babysitter, whose name is God'sLittleGiftToMeEvenThoughIDon'tDeserveIt, spent the afternoon riding bikes, playing in the sprinkler and swinging on a tree swing, ya know the kind attached to a limb with a rope. 

Oh, and they also read. Books. Really!

No electric scooters. No video games. No DVD movies on demand. No text messaging. 

Made me think about the kinds of simple outdoor pleasures I enjoyed growing up.

Of course we didn't have a backyard pool (unless you count those plastic kiddie pools that create crop circle like spaces of dead grass). We enjoyed running through the sprinkler. Water balloons. And of course, the SlipNSlide. Anyone ever raked by a stick poking through the yellow slip and slide surface? Ouch!!

We also had this crazy thing you would attach to the water hose. It had a red plastic cone top with a crazy face painted on it. You would turn on the water, and the force of the water would make it fly around the yard, where it would eventually wrap you up in the hose and slap against you leaving big red welts. What was that thing called? Anyway, it wasn't much fun after the first few beatings.

Other fun summer activities from my childhood:
  • Playing croquet in the yard with my sister for hours.
  • Red Light Green Light & Mother May I
  • Badminton
  • Making mudpies
  • Picking blackberries
  • Riding our bikes through the afternoon rain puddles
  • Reading books under the shade of the tree in the front yard 
  • Climbing trees
  • Building forts in the backyard out of boxes and blankets
  • Making necklaces out of clover and dollarweed
  • Catching frogs & lizards

Monday, July 20, 2009

Model Behavior

I got a call this week from the mom of one of MiniMe's best friends. This little girl and MiniMe have been great friends since pre-k, even though they haven't attended the same school together since kindergarten. 

Anyway, the mom says she's been talking to some "agencies" about signing her daughter up for some modeling. And one of the agencies recommended her daughter take an etiquette class this summer. So the mom was calling to see if I knew of any etiquette classes being offered and if MiniMe might want to attend the class, too.

The silence on my end of the phone was deafening. All I could think was "Well, I guess if it was 1950 I would sign MiniMe up for an etiquette class. Wouldn't want her to be unprepared for being a good wife and mother."

C'mon!!! Etiquette class? Do the "agencies" recommend that the boys take etiquette class, too, or is it just for girls?

I would sign her up for GatorWrasslin 101 before I'd sign her up for etiquette class. And as far as modeling goes, while MiniMe may love to pose for the camera (see above), I won't be suggesting she pursue it as her life ambition. I mean if she became a model, what would I do with that Florida PrePaid College plan? Besides, I'd make a terrible stage mom (I'm barely a good suburban mom), and MiniMe would suck at snorting crack and not eating for days at a time. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Twitter, Scrambled eggs and Ladies Night

I thought about changing the picture on my website header, but let's face it, that's what keeps people coming back - two hot guys - not my writing. So you'll just have to put up with it (enjoy it) a little longer.

Enjoying a late lunch with a few lady friends today - Shout out to Wondertwin and DangerMom! We were completely owning the fact that we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place with so many things to do and enjoy. Dangermom just got back from a family event in Wisconsin. Nothing against the cheese state, but she was in a particular desolate area of Wisconsin and was mighty glad to be back home. 

Tonight was ladies night. Every Wednesday night, my lady friends and I gather for some girlfriend time. Atkins friendly snacks, wine, gin, gossip and trashy magazines. We might get less than an hour most weeks before the regular world comes crashing in on us in the form of kids and family and responsibilities, but hey, a little time is better than no time at all. 

But, highlight of the day. Not ladies night. Not girlfriend lunch. It was getting to see what Lance Armstrong ate for breakfast before going on the 11th stage of the Tour de France. I have to admit, I am late to embrace Twitter, but I've been following Lance Armstrong's Twitter this week and it's taken my love of everything Tour and Lance to a whole new level. Lance has been twittering several times a day and this morning he took a snapshot of his breakfast (scrambled eggs and rice) and posted it to his twitter page. I was so excited about being an "insider" on Lance's race day prep, that I accidently walked into the men's room instead of the ladies room at lunch today. 

Go Lance! Go Astana! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Who knew?

Sometimes people surprise you. Not often, but it can happen.

That's the case with my stepson. He came home from his job as a beach lifeguard last night and was pretty excited. Seems he had met a girl "hotter than Florida" (his words not mine) and had gotten a date with her for last night. He was planning to take her to a movie and then "hang out." He paced around the house after dinner like a death row inmate on final watch. He was nervous. He double checked to make sure he had his wallet. Finally, the time arrived and off he went to get his date, admitting on the way out the door he felt like he might throw up.

Cute that a 6-ft tall, blonde, blue-eyed, handsome young man of 18 could be this nervous about a date with a girl he hardly knew.

An hour and a half later, he was back. Looking dejected. I thought maybe he'd been stood up. But no, that was not the case. Seems he picked up the lovely lady, but instead of a movie, she wanted to go to a party she'd heard about on the beach and spend the evening drinking, etc. Stepson decided that was not for him and if that was what she really wanted to do, he would take a pass.

So he spent the evening back at home playing video games with his sister. 

Stepson is very focused right now. He is in the midst of applying  to the coast guard. He knows in order to have a shot at his ultimate goal - rescue swimmer - he has to work hard, keep his nose clean and be the best he can be. He does this every day at work now as a lifeguard. Each day he sits on that tower watching his water, young ladies come by trying to get his attention. He even told us that last week a couple of girls came up and offered him a beer. When he told them he was underage, they said "that's ok, we are too." He brushed them aside with "I'm on duty."

This morning he had the day off. His dad wanted some yard work done, but he wanted to spend the day fishing with his buddy. So he got up at 7:30 a.m. and started on yard work so he could get it done early and then be off to fish. 

If God herself had told me a few years ago that this child would be so good natured, hard working, focused and positive, I wouldn't have believed it. Call me pleasantly surprised.

Monday, July 6, 2009

There's no place like home

Well, I'm back. I've been on vacation for nearly 2 weeks. First a few days in Fernandina Beach with my posse. Then a trip to the mountains of North Carolina for a vacation alone with my hubby. Both were fantastic, but there's no place like home.

Girls weekend in Fernandina Beach. We would make our annual trip an entire week, but we laugh so much that more than just a couple of days and we'd all have hurt ourselves. As it is, with only a weekend, my face muscles are sore. And, let's face it, my liver couldn't take more than just a few days of cocktails that begin before lunch and don't end until . . .hmmm . . .can't remember. Imagine that! Then there's the workout my credit card gets from shopping, eating, drinking, etc. Yes, it's fun, but we must limit ourselves to a few days. Somebody might get hurt. 

The mountains were VERY PEACEFUL. That's something I don't get a lot of around here - peace and quiet. Not with dogs, kids, a neighborhood where everyone schedules their lawn maintenance on different days so there's always a constant hum of weed wackers and riding lawn mowers (c'mon people, let's all agree to Tuesdays and Thursdays only!!!). Phones, work, etc. 

The mountains were not only peaceful, but cool. I had no idea my hair could look as good as Farrah in her red swimsuit heydays?!? No humidity will do that for a girl. Hubby and I had a mountaintop view from our private hotel balcony, which we enjoyed immensely. And on our very first night there, we stayed up past midnight talking about everything EXCEPT kids, dogs, work, and home renovations. It was kinda like a second honeymoon!

I was most proud of myself on my mountain vacation. I hiked, managed the constantly swinging temperatures and didn't hurl even once on the twisty mountain roads. I even managed to breathe in elevations above sea level. And, like my friend SandArt says, "See you CAN leave your homestate of Florida and not implode."